Ahh, the benefits of snagging a window seat on a flight -- sometimes you get a front row seat to Mother Nature showing off.
The photo above was captured by Ben Chao as he flew into LA last Monday morning just as his plane was off the coast of Marina Del Ray (Just north of Los Angeles.) It's a swirl of clouds that makes it almost look like a hurricane in progress, but it's just harmless fog.
It was likely created as an eddy from winds interacting with the coastline.
Here is the full photo:
(Almost makes not having the aisle legroom worth it!)
I wrote about something similar we called a "Stratocane" a few months ago, although that example was on a much larger scale.
Perhaps a better comparison is to this cloud eddy that a Navy pilot witnessed out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Renfrew in May of 2008.
Here's the photo from that day:
For comparison to what a real hurricane looks like from up high, take a peek at this photo taken from the ISS (Courtesy NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock / Twitter: @Astro_Wheels)